Debating Liverpool’s preferred Champions League last 16 opponents

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Liverpool FC v Spartak Moskva - UEFA Champions League
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Michael Baddeley and Ethan Golding are both looking for Liverpool to seek out revenge in the Champions League last 16.

Liverpool went into Wednesday’s Champions League match against Spartak Moscow needing just a point to advance from the group stages. The Reds were in scintillating form going into the crucial tie and would have been extremely confident of securing that point.

But what came next was unbelievable, they surprised everyone by demolishing the Russian outfit 7-0 and put Jürgen Klopp’s mighty Reds into the last 16 for the first time since 2009.

The ‘Fab Four’ made the Spartak players look like amateurs and at times it was like watching boys vs men. Philippe Coutinho netted his first Liverpool hat-trick whilst donning the captain’s armband. Sadio Mané wasn’t far behind the skipper with his brace that included a beautiful volley while Firmino and Salah also bagged themselves a goal each whilst running the Russians ragged.

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It really was a performance that will have raised a few eyebrows amongst Europe’s so called ‘big boys’. Teams like Juventus, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona, PSG will now be looking at Liverpool as a team who can cause them a lot of problems defensively.

As most of you will know, we can’t draw PSG or Barcelona in the next round as they also topped their groups. The Reds can, however, be drawn against one of Juventus, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk and Basel.

As it’s a topic that has got plenty of Liverpool fans talking, a few of us here at Rousing the Kop thought we would put our two pence in and talk about who we want to face in the next round.

Michael Baddeley on the last 16 draw:

Personally, I believe we can handle ourselves against one of the elite teams over two legs and I’d love to see us test ourselves against one of these sides now. However, part of me also wants us to get a favourable tie so we can progress to the last eight. Prestige, coefficient and money are also on the line here.

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With the exception of Juventus, I don’t think Liverpool would struggle to score against any of the potential opponents. I love the idea of Jürgen going to Germany and causing an upset against Bayern as well, but they’re another side who are defensively sound.

If we were to get a big team I’d fancy us against Real Madrid the most. Of course they’d still pose as a massive threat to the Reds – the array of talent they possess is scary and they have the ability to turn on the style at any given point. However, this term they’ve struggled defensively against teams who have attacked them and they’ve been rather inconsistent as well.

There’s no easy tie in the Champions League, but as it stands I’m leaning towards a favourable tie against one of Basel, Shakhtar or Porto. Maybe Basel? A revengeful return to St. Jakob-Park three years on would be good.

If we were to get a big team then bring them on. As we topped the group we will host the second leg of the tie… Roll on a magical European night at Anfield!

Ethan Golding also had a say…

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Roll on, Real Madrid!

There are better teams that Liverpool could be drawn against but there may not be any that are less predictable.

Liverpool’s pot of Basel, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Shakhtar Donetsk, Porto and Real Madrid are full of staples of European club football which means there will be no “outright surprises”.

Bayern and Juventus are two sides that are capable of shutting their opposition down creatively and tearing them apart offensively. I feel as though there would be an audible groan from the collective fan-base should one of these two be drawn.

Porto, Basel and Shakhtar Donetsk are the round’s problem sides. It would be assumed that they are there for the taking, but no doubt could cause problems.

The prospect of being knocked out by one of these clubs is more than disheartening, especially if you’re Mohamed Salah.

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Real Madrid offer an interesting proposition. Their brand of attacking football suits Klopp’s rapid-fire counter attacks. And unlike previously mentioned, there is no shame in losing to the first side to win back to back Champions Leagues.

In fact, the idea of knocking out the defending champions, while also exacting some revenge for 2014/15 is too good to not want.

Anfield is built for magical European nights and Liverpool aren’t just royalty in Europe’s premium club competition, they are Elites, and with our Fab Four, we are a side to be feared.

The Champions League is no place for fear or complacency, the latter of which we are far more guilty of. So I say roll on Real Madrid and Forza Red Men!

Let us know who you would like to see the Reds face in the next round of the Champions League!

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